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27 Fantastic Flooring Ideas for 2021

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June 9, 2021

Looking for new flooring ideas? Totally understandable! After spending over a year at home, many of us are starting to plan for some upgrades. 

Maybe you’re using rooms differently than you were before, or maybe your home is just ready for a good facelift. Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the right place. 

Below, we’ve rounded up 27 of the best flooring ideas for 2021 to give you some inspiration—and to help you learn about some options you might not even know about!

And to make things even easier, we’ve broken down all these ideas into 7 major trends. From earth-friendly options to timeless classics, there’s something for everyone on our list. 

Table of Contents

Part I. Wood-Specific Flooring Ideas for 2021

Some types of flooring seem to lose their appeal relatively quickly (looking at you, shag carpet). Not so with hardwoods! These floors never go out of style, meaning they’re fantastic for resale value

But with all the options hardwood offers, you’re probably wondering where to even begin. Let’s dive into a few ideas to get you started.

#1. Try the Unique Grain Patterns of Hickory Flooring

There’s no getting around it, hickory is a beautiful choice. The grain pattern is unique among wood species—so unique, in fact, that it falls into lists of hickory flooring pros and cons (depending on the person). 

Sure, there are some disadvantages of hickory flooring, but it’s a great option for many homes—and spoiler: the positives almost always outweigh the negatives. It’s more scratch-resistant than other types of wood, it’s relatively inexpensive compared to exotics, and it takes a stain very well. What’s not to like?

#2. Embrace the Farmhouse Look with Wide Plank Wood Flooring

Chip and Joanna Gaines brought shiplap and the farmhouse trend back into the mainstream, and we’re here for it. More and more homes are adding touches of that rustic, farmhouse feel using wide plank wood flooring

Farmhouse kitchen floor

Once upon a time, wide planks were only possible with softwoods like pine flooring. But today, much of the best engineered wood flooring can be purchased in this style. Why? Because engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood—meaning it’s less prone to warping. Check out some of the best engineered wood flooring brands to see what we mean!

#3. Get Rustic with Douglas Fir

Looking for flooring ideas that are packed with the rustic charm that’s so popular in today’s interior designs? Look no further than Douglas fir flooring.

Not only is Douglas fir a sustainable wood flooring choice, but it’s also an incredibly gorgeous wood flooring choice! This fast-growing softwood has tons of character and rustic charm. We especially love it for homes in the South and West, where it brings in vibes of classic Americana!

#4. Make a Statement with Ebony Flooring

Ebony flooring (or more accurately, ebony-stained flooring) is a great choice if you’re looking for bold flooring ideas. Real ebony is expensive and can be hard to work with, but there are endless options that can give you the same beautiful and dramatic look. 

Maybe you’re into modern design—in which case ebony floors pair perfectly with stark whites and creams. Maybe you want it as a counterpoint to muted colors or slate greys. You really can’t go wrong! Whichever way you incorporate this beautiful color option into your home, it will definitely be a conversation topic.

#5. Add Character With Fun Wood Patterns!

When you hear “wood flooring patterns”, you might think about retro parquet flooring techniques like herringbone parquet. While we absolutely adore these classics, they’re not the only wood floor designs around! 

Chevron parquet

You could go with something intricate, like basket-woven patterns. Or, use different wood floor colors to create 3D effects! The world is your wood-floor-oyster. And remember: unless you’re planning on do-it-yourself flooring, you’re going to need to hire an installer anyway—so get a great one and have them make your floors pop with some amazing patterns!

#6. Go High-Performance with Engineered Hardwood

What is engineered hardwood? Along with solid hardwood, it’s one of the two types of wood flooring. And it’s by far the more high-performance type.

Why? Its 2-layer construction (a plywood base and a real wood veneer) makes it much more dimensionally stable. Translation: it’s more resistant to changes in temperature, moisture, and warping.

This doesn’t just make it more robust—it also makes it cheaper. In fact, the cost to install engineered hardwood floors is lower when it comes to expensive wood species. Because engineered hardwood uses less of that expensive wood!

Are there engineered wood disadvantages? Sure—but if you’re looking for the best wood flooring for dogs or kids, we’d highly recommend it. 

Part II. Resilient Flooring Ideas (Mixing Tradition and Technology)

If hardwood doesn’t fall into your budget—or if you need something that can handle more of a beating—check out these fake wood flooring ideas. Today’s wood alternatives give you incredible performance and gorgeous visuals at an unbeatable price point. 

#7. Mix Durability and Style with Luxury Vinyl Plank

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring has made bigger strides in the flooring industry than any other product over the last few years. The best vinyl plank flooring brands are gorgeous, affordable, and crazy durable. 

Are there disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring? If you buy a quality product, very few. The stuff can mimic wood and stone super well, it’s comfortable, it’s long-lasting… seriously, what else do you need?

So whether you want the convenience of peel and stick vinyl plank or the heavy-duty comfort of rigid core luxury vinyl flooring (also known as EVP flooring), it’s easy to find the perfect vinyl plank floor for you.

You can even find specialized products like WPC flooring (great for comfort) or SPC flooring (for extra durability) from most major manufacturers. So whatever your flooring ideas, you can make them happen with LVP.

#8. Get Super Durable With Laminate—The Original Fake Wood!

Lots of people find themselves comparing vinyl plank vs. laminate. And that makes sense—they’re the top two hardwood floor alternatives on the market. 

So what is laminate flooring? It’s a multi-layer product just like LVP, but it’s not made from plastic the way LVP is. However, the best laminate flooring is just as durable—if not more so—thanks to its super-hard wear layer.

Additionally, laminate flooring can be even cheaper than vinyl, and it’s the original hardwood alternative. And really, the biggest difference between laminate vs. hardwood flooring is that laminate can’t be refinished while most types of wood flooring can.

Oh—and if you were thinking that laminate is inferior to LVP because it’s not waterproof, think again. Products like RevWood are evening out the playing field. In fact, some products that are marketing as waterproof hardwood flooring are actually made of—you guessed it—laminate!

#9. Stay Super Long Lasting With Wood-Look Concrete

Concrete flooring that looks like wood? Oh yes, it’s a thing. And it’s fantastic. Concrete can be stained and stamped to take on many different textures, including wood. And as you might imagine, this flooring idea offers a crazy long-lasting surface. 

#10. Get the Look of Wood with the Benefits of Tile

If you’ve found yourself agonizing between tile vs. wood floors, you can stop. Because there’s such a thing as wood-look tile, and it’s awesome.

Tile is a great option for all types of rooms—it’s waterproof, durable, environmentally friendly, the list goes on. And it’s true that hardwood isn’t great in wet spaces (one of the reasons wood floor bathrooms are so few and far between).

Translation: porcelain wood-look tile can give you the best of both worlds. It’s just a no-brainer!

Part III: Brightening Up Spaces with Unique Flooring Ideas

One of the quickest ways to make any space look larger and more modern is to brighten it up. Light-colored floors are seen in many of today’s design magazines and websites (and for good reason). 

#11. Go With Marble Tile (or a Marble Alternative) For an Airy Feel

With hues that can light up a room, marble flooring is a great way to make any space feel more open and airy. But it’s 2021—and that means you don’t need to shell out the big bucks for real marble anymore!

Marble living room flooring ideas

The best vinyl plank flooring comes in tons of marble patterns these days. And since, by default, all vinyl flooring is waterproof vinyl flooring, you won’t even have to deal with the annoying upkeep of real marble. 

Fun fact: there are other types of tile that can resemble marble as well—porcelain, for instance! No matter what your situation or your flooring ideas, you can find something in a marble look to fit your space.

#12. Try a Naturally-Light Wood Species 

We already mentioned some hardwood flooring ideas above, but we have to mention some more here—because light woods can really open up a room! 

And we’re not just talking about stains, either. Many hardwood species are naturally light and bright in color. Ash flooring is a great option, for example. Described as a blonde wood, it brightens and warms spaces at the same time. 

Other light wood floors include maple, white oak, and even poplar. 

#13. Be Part of the Whitewashed Wood Comeback

If you want to get an even lighter wood floor, there’s always the option to whitewash your current hardwood. 

We know what you’re thinking—whitewash? Isn’t that the stuff they used to finish floors back in the 1800s? 

Yep. And it’s making a comeback. Because short of bleaching wooden floors, it’s one of the best ways to get a lighter color on an existing product (and we’ll talk about refinishing in a moment). 

While whitewashing doesn’t work as well on prefinished hardwood flooring (because those finishes are usually baked-on polyurethanes), you can also find wood that resembles a whitewashed finish too!

#14. Use Classic White Tile—It Works With Everything

If you want a simple, clean look that complements everything, think about white or off-white tile. This flooring idea offers a great contrast for just about any room. Plus, porcelain tile is one of the most scratch-resistant flooring options around!

Part IV. Eco-Friendly Flooring Ideas

With consumers becoming more and more aware of what’s in the products they buy, eco-friendly flooring is becoming increasingly popular. And we think that’s great!

We have tons of flooring ideas that are great for your family and for the planet. So you don’t need to sacrifice your health to get a beautiful surface!

#15. Get a Totally New Look by Refinishing Your Current Floors 

Want to get a whole new look for your home without the environmental footprint? Then don’t shop—refinish!

The cost to refinish hardwood flooring is lower than it is to install a whole new floor—especially if you’re buying from one of the best hardwood floor brands. And with today’s advances in staining, you can get an entirely new look by doing so. New flooring ideas are great. But new flooring ideas that cost less and save the planet are better!

#16. Use Cork for Warmth and Comfort

Yes, you read that right. Cork is good for way more than just keeping wine in the bottle—it’s also an excellent eco-friendly flooring option. The pros and cons of cork flooring are worth reviewing to learn a little more, but here are the important ideas:

  1. Cork is super springy and great for your joints.
  2. It’s antimicrobial (and great for people with allergies).
  3. It insulates your floors and can lower your heating and cooling costs.
  4. The disadvantages of cork flooring mostly boil down to the fact that it’s not waterproof and that you have to seal it periodically.

And that’s about it! The best cork flooring options are durable, versatile, and come in a variety of styles and looks. If you’ve never put cork on your list of flooring ideas before, now’s the time! 

#17. Shop Bamboo Flooring For Lots of Variety

Contrary to popular belief, bamboo isn’t a type of wood. It’s actually part of the grass family! And that means it’s super fast-growing and sustainable. 

If you want variety, bamboo might just be for you. There are endless flooring ideas and possibilities when it comes to bamboo, because it can be processed in so many different ways. Horizontal? Vertical? Strand-woven? Carbonized? Non-carbonized? It’s all up to you!

Bamboo flooring ideas

Reading up on engineered bamboo flooring pros and cons? Oh yes, engineered bamboo is a thing. You can even refinish bamboo flooring just like wood!

Whatever style you go with, remember: the best bamboo flooring will come with a Forest Stewardship Council certificate to show it has been sustainably sourced.

#18. Elevate Your Home with Hemp Flooring

Hemp flooring is amazing. It’s one of the most sustainable flooring options on the market and fits perfectly in the environmentally-friendly flooring category. It’s also non-toxic and extremely durable. Comparing bamboo flooring vs. laminate for their super-durable qualities? Hemp can give them both a run for their money. It’s really the best around!

Part V. New Technology = Fantastic Flooring Ideas

The flooring industry has seen some pretty incredible new technology emerge in recent years, and you can (and should) include it in your next project! Here are just a few flooring ideas you could use to take advantage of these new products.

#19. Use Loose Lay Planks for Quick and Easy Installs

It might not be brand-new, but loose lay technology is finally coming into its own—and we couldn’t be happier! 

What is loose lay? It’s an installation style that doesn’t require any glue or nails. These planks use their weight and a rubber backing to hold them in place. Looking for low-VOC vinyl flooring? You’re in luck—loose lay vinyl plank flooring doesn’t require any VOC-packed adhesives to hold it down.

Plus, the cost to install vinyl plank flooring is way lower for loose lay than it is for glue-down vinyl plank flooring products. Because they’re quicker and easier to install!

#20. Or Use Magnetic Flooring for a Super Easy Installation

What’s the easiest flooring to install? It depends on who you ask. But until recently, that title generally went to carpet tiles or click-together flooring systems.

These days, however, magnetic flooring is taking the industry by storm. With a single magnetic underlayment, you can install any type of flooring (as long as it includes trace amounts of iron). That includes products that are made specifically for magnetic flooring systems and any other products to which you can attach iron! Pretty neat, eh?

Want to replace your flooring seasonally? Now you can! How’s that for a new-age flooring idea?

#21. Check Out New Brands—Not Just the Old Hats

It’s 2021; your flooring ideas don’t have to be limited by the products you can find at your closest big-box store!

Seriously—they may be popular, but big-box brands like Home Depot’s LifeProof vinyl flooring, Floor & Decor’s NuCore flooring, and Lowes’ SmartCore flooring are just the tip of the iceberg.

Newer brands like Proximity Mills can offer things other brands don’t (like recyclable vinyl products and super-durable planks) at an even lower price point. 

Just remember: while reviews of top brands (like COREtec flooring reviews) speak for themselves, others aren’t so great (looking at you, Stainmaster luxury vinyl). So be sure to do your research!

Part VI: Adding Pops of Color to Your Floors

Want some pops of color in your mudroom flooring or powder rooms? Have we got some flooring ideas for you!

#22. Carpet Tiles: Not Just for Office Buildings Anymore

Peel-and-stick carpet tiles offer an easy DIY project that can add color and warmth to any space (without a huge investment). If you look up how to install carpet tiles, you’ll see that they can be put down over any smooth, flat surface. If you’ve been going back and forth between carpet vs. hardwood, you can use these tiles to just cover part of your hardwood and get the best of both floors. How’s that for fun flooring ideas?

#23. Layer Area Rugs to Cozy Up Any Space

Area rugs are an incredible tool if you want a little cozy, but you can’t give up the beautiful look of your hard surface flooring. For example, if you can’t decide between carpet or hardwood in the bedroom, keep your hard surface and add an area rug (or two) so you can step down on a cozy soft surface when you hop out of bed in the morning. 

With so many different area rugs available, you can achieve any color combination or texture that you want. There are even companies that sell area rugs you can throw in your washing machine at home. Try adding a few of these to cozy up your spaces!

#24. Colorful Tiles Make for Great Flooring Ideas

There are all kinds of beautiful patterns that you can achieve using painted or colored tiles. You can create a piece of art in your entryway, living room, or even your shower! Or, choose something colorful and funky for your kitchen. You really can’t go wrong!

Part VII. Upgrade Every Area of Your Home with Unique Flooring Ideas!

Remember: gorgeous flooring ideas aren’t just for kitchens and living rooms. Making the floors throughout your house beautiful can increase resale value—and your own enjoyment!

#25. Transform Your Outdoor Space with Gorgeous Floors

Depending on the climate you live in, there are plenty of outdoor flooring options to make your space more usable and enjoyable. Outdoor vinyl flooring is a popular option, but really, you have endless options. Composite decking, concrete, even astroturf! 

Outdoor patio

Our philosophy is this: as long as it makes you enjoy your space more, it doesn’t matter what floor you get. 

#26. Create a Useable Garage Area

If your garage has been used as a dumping ground for years (guilty), now might be the best time to transform that space. There are new rubber products coming out specifically for garage floors that can help make it more inviting as a part-time gym or play space when the cars aren’t parked inside. Another option is PVC flooring, which you can find in many different forms. Even painting the existing concrete can help brighten up that space and make it more usable!

#27. Upgrade Your Sunroom or 3-Season Room

Other rooms that are popular for makeovers are indoor/outdoor living spaces. And new floors in these spaces can be an absolute game-changer. So think about some new sunroom flooring! Whether you want heated wooden floors for extra warmth during the winter or non-toxic laminate flooring for year-round durability, there’s no bad choice.

So: Which Flooring Ideas Are You Leaning Towards?

We know: we just dropped a ton of flooring ideas on you. And now that we’ve got those creative juices flowing, the question is: which of these flooring ideas are you leaning towards?

Whatever your answer, the next step is clear: find a top-rated flooring store in your area for some professional advice. Local flooring retailers are the absolute experts, and they can help you with everything and anything.

We hope this article has been helpful and, as always, feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have. Thanks for reading and good luck on your flooring journey!

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About The Author

Steph Gregerson

Steph is a book nerd, rule follower, and pizza lover who can't get enough of playing outside. She was raised on the ice rinks of MN and currently resides in sunny San Diego. As a freelance writer, she loves research, producing content, and organizing information for a wide variety of clients. She currently has at least 10 browser windows open at all times.

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